Under New Management

Opening Prayer

Lord, I approach You with confidence, to “receive mercy and find grace” today (Heb. 4:16, GNB).

Read Mark 12:1–12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

Reflect

Picture yourself approaching God’s throne. Sense his welcome. Receive his grace.

Jesus’ engagement with Israel’s leaders continues in the form of a parable (1). This powerful story uses imagery that his listeners would have known well (see Isa. 5:1–7). They clearly understood what Jesus was telling them (12).
Israel was God’s vineyard, planted into the world to produce a harvest of fine grapes (2). It had everything a vineyard could need (1), with the exception of good managers. They became greedy and acted as though it was their vineyard, keeping its fruit for themselves. They resisted all attempts by the owner to intervene (3–5), and even killed his son, whose visit had been their final chance to honor the owner (7,8).
As the original vineyard managers lost everything (9), amazingly the stone that had been rejected (the murdered son) is raised to take the preeminent place in the renewed vineyard (9b–11). With this hint of Jesus’ death and resurrection Mark signals the Good News. God’s vineyard is under new management, and now all who welcome the Son are welcome to drink its wine!

Apply

God’s love can stand a great deal of rejection. Whom do you know who is holding out against God? How can you encourage them?

Closing prayer

Father God, grant me a fresh revelation of Your Son coming to me, so that I can offer him to my loved ones.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider